Serie A: Juventus 1 Palermo 0
By Football News
Juventus have clinched their 29th Scudetto after recording a comfortable 1-0 home win over Palermo on Sunday.
The champions never looked like losing against the Sicilian club as they controlled the match throughout, taking the lead with an Arturo Vidal penalty, but Paul Pogba departed to leave a sour taste in the last 10 minutes, as he was dismissed for spitting at an opponent..
Antonio Conte named the same team for the third consecutive match as Pogba retained his place in the midfield, but Palermo boss Giuseppe Sannino was forced into one change from his side's win over Inter the week before, as Nelson came in at right-back for the suspended Michel Morganella.
The visitors had to hang on in a tough opening 20 minutes as continuous shots and crosses bombarded their goal and penalty area, but Stefano Sorrentino remained vigilant in goal.
Palermo looked determined at the back, but they were offering very little in attack, and Nelson’s hopeless pass forward for Fabrizio Miccoli to run on to summed up their first-half performance as Giorgio Chiellini intercepted with ease.
Mirko Vucinic looked destined to open the scoring just prior to the half-hour mark as he latched on to an inch-perfect through-ball from Stefan Lichtsteiner, but after evading Salvatore Aronica he could only hit his shot straight at the on-rushing Sorrentino.
From the resulting corner the Montenegrin headed wide of the far post, but Juventus were struggling to create clear-cut chances, while Palermo grew in confidence.
Juventus began the second-half in frantic fashion as they surged forward, but aside from an Andrea Pirlo free-kick which was dealt with easily, their attempts to create chances were not effective and the visitors nearly took the lead.
After running on to a through-ball behind Leonardo Bonucci, the bullish Miccoli lacked support, therefore he decided to go for goal himself and his gamble almost paid off as his effort flew past Buffon before coming back off the post.
Juventus soon capitalised on Miccoli’s miss as Massimo Donati barged Vucinic to the ground in the penalty area, and Vidal confidently buried his effort from 12 yards to start the title party.
Things could have got even worse for Palermo just a couple of minutes later as first Vucinic opted to square a pass across the goal rather than shoot, before Chiellini headed just wide from six yards out.
Despite their dominance, the hosts switched off just before the 80th minute and after good work from Nelson, substitute Abel Hernandez bent a powerful strike just wide of Buffon’s right-hand post from outside the area.
The win looked in doubt for the final six minutes as all of Pogba’s previous good work was undone as he reacted to overly-aggressive play from Aronica by spitting at the Italian defender, and the former Manchester United man was subsequently shown a red card, but Conte’s team held on to the win which secured their 29th league title.